Best Original Story 1936

1927/28 through 1997

What was the best original story from among the 1936 nominees?

Fury (Norman Krasna)
10
91%
The Great Ziegfeld (William Anthony McGuire)
0
No votes
San Francisco (Robert E. Hopkins)
0
No votes
The Story of Louis Pasteur (Pierre Collings, Sheridan Gibney)
0
No votes
Three Smart Girls (Adele Comandini)
1
9%
 
Total votes: 11

The Original BJ
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Re: Best Original Story 1936

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:19 pm

This one is a no-brainer.

At this point, I feel like I can barely even distinguish these Deanna Durbin things from one another, so with Three Smart Girls, I just have to reiterate the usual criticisms: silly plot, boring musical numbers, no vote.

The Story of Louis Pasteur is a generic biopic of the era, which puts it way outside my sensibilities. I just find the entire conceit of the movie -- everyone who doubts Pasteur is clearly a dunderhead, just you wait until he proves the haters wrong! -- so simplistic. Plus, how is something based on fact an original story?

The Great Ziegfeld really just goes on and on, doesn't it? Not saying a shorter version would have ever had my vote, but this thing should have been 90 minutes tops, an excuse for some eye-catching musical numbers hung on a flimsy plot. But instead, we get a slog of dramatic scenes that proclaim seriousness without any real compelling thematic ideas to carry them along.

I guess San Francisco is my runner-up here, though almost by default. Still, I don't want to disparage the movie -- the build-up to the big disaster is entertaining enough, and despite setting the template for tons of movies to come, it's executed well enough that the plot doesn't feel too rote all these decades later. Of course, that doesn't make it the height of insightful dramatic writing either.

But Fury is the easy choice. The movie must have seemed incredibly potent at the time -- an era when lynchings were common occurrences in American life. But seen today, the entire swath of human history that has taken place since the film's release makes it seem astoundingly prophetic, as an examination of the kind of mob violence (and collective willingness to decry such actions) that would lead to horrors in Germany in the years ahead, as well as many collective sins of today, from the military torture of prisoners to the nasty brutalities of Trump rallies. And structurally, there's some very deft storytelling here -- the manner in which Sylvia Sidney finds out Spencer Tracy is alive is quite clever, yet the set-up for it doesn't come across as obvious. The ending, of course, is nominally "happy," but it doesn't really undercut the movie's cynicism either -- you don't, for instance, get the sense that anyone other than Tracy has learned that his blood lust and lies were actually wrong. An effort this complex would be a strong candidate in any year of the '30's, but given the pitiful competition here, it's the clear winner.

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Re: Best Original Story 1936

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:38 am

Actually there are only seven left - 1935 has already been set up. Of those seven, we should probably just do five, going back through 1929/30.

Of the three films listed for 1927/28, few would have seen Glorious Betsy, which you need access to an archive housing it to see. Aside from OBJ, I don't know anyone here who has. It comes down to a vote between 7th Heaven and The Jazz Singer.

Of the eleven listed for 1928/29, the winner (The Patriot) is a lost film. Of the remaining ten, only four (In Old Arizona, The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, Our Dancing Daughters, The Valiant) have likely ben seen by anyone still living.

At any rate, the participation in the discussion has dwindled to just OBJ, Tee and me. I feel like I'm in a real-life version of And Then There Were None. Wasn't it the fourth to go from the end of the Christie novel/play/film that turned out to be the murderer? That would mean the last participant to drop out is the murderer. Does anyone remember who that was?

I'm joking, of course, but that's what it feels like, especially when someone votes for something like Three Smart Girls without explanation. Are they trying to be funny or do they have a genuine affection for the film? Was Adele Comandini their grandmother? What was the reason? I'd really like to know.

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Re: Best Original Story 1936

Postby nightwingnova » Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:19 pm

Agreed. Only about 8 left anyway. Why not take the time to do it right and enjoy it?

Mister Tee wrote:Seeing these polls are just going to continue to proliferate no matter how slowly we catch up, I'm just going to drop in at random for years that interest me or don't require exceptional effort.

However...as BJ notes, off-season is no longer operative. This week we have NBR Tuesday, NY Thursday, LA Sunday, and the Broadcasters somewhere in there trying to set the agenda even earlier. Many of us will want to predict and/or comment on many or all of these. And things will continue fast and furious over the next few weeks, leading to the Christmas miasma. Given that many of us are already 3-4 years behind on these screenplay threads (which amounts to 6-8 threads), I'd like to put in an official request for official pause, to resume after the Oscars.]

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Re: Best Original Story 1936

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:42 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:Seeing these polls are just going to continue to proliferate no matter how slowly we catch up, I'm just going to drop in at random for years that interest me or don't require exceptional effort.


At some point we're going to press pause, right? We're getting into prime movie season now, and even those of us who'd like to chime in have plenty of other things to discuss.

I don't know, we'll see. I'd just as soon get it over with.

I don't understand why this would be seen as something to get over with. It's supposed to be pleasurable; not something endured. It's always served us well during off-season.

However...as BJ notes, off-season is no longer operative. This week we have NBR Tuesday, NY Thursday, LA Sunday, and the Broadcasters somewhere in there trying to set the agenda even earlier. Many of us will want to predict and/or comment on many or all of these. And things will continue fast and furious over the next few weeks, leading to the Christmas miasma. Given that many of us are already 3-4 years behind on these screenplay threads (which amounts to 6-8 threads), I'd like to put in an official request for official pause, to resume after the Oscars.

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Re: Best Original Story 1936

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:55 pm

The Original BJ wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:Seeing these polls are just going to continue to proliferate no matter how slowly we catch up, I'm just going to drop in at random for years that interest me or don't require exceptional effort.


At some point we're going to press pause, right? We're getting into prime movie season now, and even those of us who'd like to chime in have plenty of other things to discuss.

I don't know, we'll see. I'd just as soon get it over with.

Big Magilla
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Re: Best Original Story 1936

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:51 pm

I voted for Fury.

The Original BJ
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Re: Best Original Story 1936

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:58 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Seeing these polls are just going to continue to proliferate no matter how slowly we catch up, I'm just going to drop in at random for years that interest me or don't require exceptional effort.


At some point we're going to press pause, right? We're getting into prime movie season now, and even those of us who'd like to chime in have plenty of other things to discuss.

Mister Tee
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Re: Best Original Story 1936

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:20 pm

Seeing these polls are just going to continue to proliferate no matter how slowly we catch up, I'm just going to drop in at random for years that interest me or don't require exceptional effort.

The only two originals I can think of that might improve this list are Modern Times and Swing Time -- and each has a handicap (the first silence, the second being a musical) that would prevent my choosing it for the win.

I don't know what possessed the Academy at large, including the writers' branch, to make them shower so much love on Deanna Durbin movies in this era. I'm just glad it stopped.

The Great Ziegfeld is maybe worse than Three Smart Girls, if only because it goes on at such ludicrous length. One can admire Luise Rainer's performance and scenes (not just the legendary telephone monologue) and still find the movie an endless bore.

San Francisco has its moments -- more than Ziegfeld, for sure -- but it feels like it takes an awfully long time for the earth to start shaking, and the human encounters leading up to the great event are no more than the usual MGM hokum.

The Story of Louis Pasteur is one of the more engaging biopics of the era. Simplistic, of course, and the usual quotient of Muni-fussing. But an enjoyable enough 90 minutes.

Fury, though, is easily the choice here -- one of my two favorite films of 1936 (the other conveniently competes in the other screenwriting category). Norman Krasna gets the credit here, but you can't help feeling Lang's influence was felt -- his sense of doom pervades the film. This is as cynical a film as a major studio made during the 30s; it's so pessimistic, even the studio-demanded "happy" ending barely seems a release. One of the best films of the 30s, and possibly Lang's finest American effort.

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Best Original Story 1936

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:31 pm

The poll is open.


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